ne·​crop·​o·​lis | \nə-ˈkrä-pə-ləs, ne-\
plural necropolises or necropoles\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlēz , ne-​ \ or necropoleis\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlās , ne-​ \ or necropoli\ nə-​ˈkrä-​pə-​ˌlī , -​ˌlē, ne-​ \

Definition of necropolis 

: cemetery especially : a large elaborate cemetery of an ancient city

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Did You Know?

With its -polis ending, meaning "city", a necropolis is a "city of the dead". Most of the famous necropolises of Egypt line the Nile River across from their cities. In ancient Greece and Rome, a necropolis would often line the road leading out of a city; in the 1940s a great Roman necropolis was discovered under the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica. Some more recent cemeteries especially deserve the name necropolis because they resemble cities of aboveground tombs, a necessity in low-lying areas such as New Orleans where a high water table prevents underground burial.

Examples of necropolis in a Sentence

Archaeologists uncovered a necropolis of ancient Rome. an ancient necropolis that has given archaeologists valuable insights into how people once lived and died

Recent Examples on the Web

In 2017, the ministry found a necropolis holding at least 17 mummies in the area of Tuna al-Gabal. Washington Post, "Archaeologists find ancient necropolis in Egypt," 24 Feb. 2018 Trouche has been researching the 18th-century fashion parades during which the city’s local fashion plates would walk up and down the Alyscamps, an ancient Roman necropolis lined with funerary stones and monuments, flaunting their latest finery. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "A Brief History of the Arlesienne Fashion Plates Who Inspired Alessandro Michele’s Cruise Collection," 8 June 2018 Gucci designer Alessandro Michele chose The Alyscamps, the ruins of a Roman necropolis, as his stage. Washington Post, "Death and glitter: Gucci hosts France show in Roman ruins," 2 June 2018 Archaeologists in Sudan have uncovered a large cache of rare stone inscriptions at the Sedeinga necropolis along the Nile River. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Large Cache of Texts May Offer Insight Into One of Africa’s Oldest Written Languages," 13 Apr. 2018 The 114 looks consisted of velvet dresses, capes, and crosses, harking to the Catholic dignitaries that are said to be buried in the necropolis. Mara Balagtas, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Gucci Chose a UNESCO World Heritage Site for Its 2019 Cruise Collection Show," 31 May 2018 Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities announced Saturday the discovery of a necropolis near the city of Minya, south of Cairo in an area known to house ancient catacombs. Charlene Gubash, NBC News, "Archaeologists discover burial ground for Egyptian high priests," 24 Feb. 2018 Late last night in Arles, the small coastal town in the South of France, Gucci graciously hosted 400 friends of the house, who took their seats just past 10 o’clock to witness a spectacular Resort show set in an ancient Roman necropolis. Monica Kim, Vogue, "Of Course EXO’s Kai Was the Star of Gucci’s Stunning Resort Show," 31 May 2018 In 1985, archaeologists discovered a medieval necropolis in northern Italy, which, over the years, yielded the remains of 222 individuals. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Medieval Man Used a Knife as a Prosthetic Limb," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'necropolis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of necropolis

1819, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for necropolis

Late Latin, city of the dead, from Greek nekropolis, from nekr- + -polis -polis

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The first known use of necropolis was in 1819

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English Language Learners Definition of necropolis

: a large cemetery especially of an ancient city

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by force of circumstances

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